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Voluntary blood donation accounts for 10% of Nigeria’s total collection




The federal government has decried the low level of voluntary non remunerated blood donation in the country even as she persuade States ministries of health to show their appreciation of regular voluntary unpaid donors and provide adequate resources for quality donor care.

Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), Mr. Linus Awute, and the Director of Hospital Services (DHS), Dr. David Atura, said the use of blood and blood products has become an integral part of modern medical practice and world over, about 108 million units of blood are utilized per annum.

They said with a population of over 170 million, the estimated blood needs in Nigeria is about 1.4 to 1.7 million units of blood per annum.

Awute and Atura, on the occasion of the World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) celebrated globally on Sunday June 14, however, said unfortunately much less is collected, leading to avoidable deaths and morbidities particularly amongst our women folk, newborn children, victims of road traffic accidents and insurgencies.

The WBDD event, held in Abuja, was attended by the United States (US) Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, Registrar Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), Prof. Anthony Emeribe, Country Director Safe Blood for Africa Foundation (SBFAF), Mr. Idris Saliu, among others.

Awute said the situation can improve if only one per cent of our country’s adult population commit themselves to voluntary non-remunerated blood donation on a regular basis. “This will go a long way in getting rid of touts and blood racketeering. For as long as the demand out strips the supply, commercialization and racketeering of blood and blood products will continue to thrive,” he said.

Awute further stated: As a nation, and as a people of good will, we must rise up to the occasion, by taking that important decision of becoming voluntary non-remunerated blood donors. The use of blood and blood products is far too critical to be left in the hands of touts and racketeers who commercialize this precious gift of life.”

He said FMoH’s statistics show that voluntary non-remunerated blood donation accounts for only 10 per cent of our total blood collection. He said family replacement donations and commercial donations account for 30 and 60 percent respectively. “This situation is in dire need of a reversal, as we move towards attaining 100 per cent voluntary non-remunerated blood donation by the year 2020; a goal set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which has been successfully attained by some other African countries,” Awute said.

The Permanent Secretary said the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) has the mandate to centrally coordinate blood safety programs in Nigeria and that this is an enormous task, which requires the support of all including the federal government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), multilateral and bilateral agencies alike.

Awute added: “I therefore urge all hands to be on deck towards the attainment of this goal. I also call on our health professionals, hospitals and other related institutions to join hands with the NBTS as it pursues this noble cause using a centrally coordinated approach. I make a special appeal to our tertiary and secondary hospitals to embrace the Hospital Linkage Programme (HLP) designed by the NBTS which I believe is the key to ensuring blood safety, proper blood inventory and haemovigilance in our country.

“Another special appeal goes to State governments to take blood safety as an essential part of their health systems and to ensure the implementation of resolutions reached at the 55th and 56th National Council on Health (NCH) on blood safety. State ownership and implementation of blood safety programs is key to attaining WHO’s set goals on blood safety nationwide.

“During the 55th Session of the National Council on Health, the Council reviewed the role of the biomedical transmission of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis B virus including other blood borne infections and resolved that the Enzyme Linked Immune-sorbent Assay (ELISA) technique should be the minimum standard for screening all blood units used for transfusion purposes. All stakeholders are enjoined to take this resolution very seriously and work hard at ensuring that the deadline agreed upon for the phase out of the use of Rapid Test Kits (RTK) in screening blood for transfusion is upheld by December 2016. This will ensure that only blood screened utilizing ELISA technology is used for transfusion purposes in Nigeria.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the Government and people of United States of America (USA) who through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have supported blood safety in Nigeria since inception and for the last 10 years. I also wish to thank Safe Blood for Africa Foundation for its excellent support to the NBTS as Technical partners and all the PEPFAR Blood Safety Implementing Partners who have collaborated with the NBTS to enhance her performance over the years.”

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